“American Idol” judges impressed by Kansas City talent

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The path to "American Idol" fame goes through Kansas City.

For the second straight day, the celebrity judges were in town looking for finalists for the upcoming season of the show. It's 14th season will be seen on FOX 4 in January.

There is talent everywhere -- and it's just waiting to be discovered.

"American Idol" producers say that's their mission, and it includes bringing their celebrity judges to Kansas City's Bartle Hall.

The show's panel of experts say they've seen over a hundred performers, but one local name keeps cropping up.

"American Idol" judges Harry Connick, Jr, Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban spent a second consecutive day in the metro looking for the next breakout superstar for their beloved reality show.

"It's great," Connick said. "We've been here before. It's an amazing town. It really is the heartland of our country. The people are great, talented and soulful. We're excited."

"We've been seeing some great talent," Lopez said. "We're super excited about what's coming out of Kansas City this year."

What's still to come could resemble David Cook, the Blue Springs singer who won "Idol's" seventh season in 2008. "AI" Emcee Ryan Seacrest told FOX 4 Cook is one of the show's more memorable champions.

"You could just stand at the side of the stage, and see the star qualities he had," Seacrest said. "There's a lot of hope for this region of the country."

But Cook's road to fame isn't a blueprint for success. Urban says the only way to win is to make a unique mark.

"It's diverse," Urban said. "That's what I love about it. We're hearing everybody -- country, folk, rock, pop and some really uncategorizable people. We had a couple of people who came in yesterday who were totally in their own genre."

The "Idol" crew leaves town on Thursday morning, as they head for New Orleans in search of contestants.

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